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Can Startups Rely on a Remote Team?
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Valentine’s Day: Why Choosing Your Outsourcing Partner Is Just Like a Date?
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Why Do Small Businesses and Agencies Fail at Social Media Marketing?

Can Startups Rely on a Remote Team?

Remote hiring is something which is slowly being accepted more and more as we edge into the future. Shunned earlier by many companies owing to the lack of clarity regarding the entire process, remote workers are now gradually being inducted into the workforces and task teams of various companies. This is contributing to the growth of workplace expansion beyond the physical confines of the office. What’s even more encouraging is the fact that this trend is being quickly adopted by smaller companies, especially start-ups.   

There’s good reason behind people getting excited about remote offices. It is, first and foremost, quite cost-effective, saving money by not having to invest in the physical expansion of the workplace. The cost of office furniture, broadband internet connection, computers, air-conditioning, etc., is really difficult to muster for most start-ups. So, it is logical that the trend of remote working from different locations would come as a blessing in disguise for them. There are plenty of jobs that do not require the daily physical presence of workers in the office. A few examples would be a biochemist, a biomedical engineer and construction engineer. If you are planning to set up a firm that is primarily centered around these (or similar) jobs, then you’re at full liberty to forgo the office set-up. Instead, you would conduct business from your own home (or any other ‘headquarter’ location you choose). and a few decentralized locations scattered across various geographical locations.

Now, the question that arises out of all this is: Is it possible for start-ups to completely bank upon a remote team instead of an office team?

The answer is multi-layered. There are several things that ought to be kept in mind while beginning to work with a remote team. The first thing is the culture of the workplace. Remote workers that are being hired should first be tested for cultural compatibility as well as the speed of task completion and work ethics followed. The second thing is the structure of management. If you have a work supervision and employee productivity tracking system that depends on the physical presence of the employee in question, then problems are bound to arise. As I’ve mentioned previously, there are certain kinds of jobs that people can hold without having to actually travel to an office. If a start-up is made up of people who would be working chiefly from home or other remote locations, then an office would not be required in the first place. On the other hand, if a huge part of the company’s staff consists of people in traditional office-based roles, then that company would need a separate work building. It really depends upon the kind of industry the company is part of, and the type of work the company does.

Here’s what you can do if you’re a start-up and want to utilize a remote office:

  • Don’t use e-mail for communications; make use of Skype or Slack. The only place where you should use e-mail for communications is when you are notifying your employees on an official communication made with another organization. Another instance would be when you’re sending out official invites for a conference call. If you have a very small staff, you may have no need to communicate via technology.
  • You could make use of, as we have already stated above, real-time communication technology such as Flow, Skype, Skitch or Slack. These not only help in interpersonal and inter-group communication but also have live video chats and can also be used to keep track of employee progress. When it comes to keeping all work progress recorded centrally, there are few alternatives to cloud storage mechanisms such as Dropbox. It not only keeps all files stored in one place, sorted according to size, date, priority, and employee, but it also has the provision to bring back a deleted file by clicking the “undo delete” button (Note: This can be done within 30 days of deletion).
  • Create a position that is Two-in-One: Office Assistant and Manager. You could have the same person who has the responsibility of office secretary also carry the responsibility of the event scheduler. They would not only assign you the tasks to be completed but also fix meetings, book flights, carry out transactions with banks and other similar work. Thus, you could have a person handling your projects who knows the details and schedules of the company inside out. Having a position like this can help with better task coordination and optimization time. This position, acting as a schedule manager, is also an able observer of the company’s progress. Owing to their deep knowledge about the work mechanism and schedules of the company, they would be able to provide valuable inputs regarding the work to be completed.

In general, there are many good reasons for a start-up to go completely remote. It is definitely worth the time and effort to explore this as a possibility if nothing else.

Valentine’s Day: Why Choosing Your Outsourcing Partner Is Just Like a Date?

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it is easy to feel the love in the air. Business operations are nothing less than love as both are complex and need your attention. Needless to say, both business and love are rewarding. You can express your love for your business by choosing the right outsourcing partner. Outsourcing allows you to get the benefits of skilled professionals without even the hassles of hiring them. As love fills you with content, outsourcing also does the same by providing high-quality work at reduced cost resulting in increased profits. Choosing your outsourcing partner can be just as confusing as planning a date for your Valentine. Here are some similarities between the two and some tips to select your outsourcing partner.

A Match Made in Heaven

Just like choosing a life partner, choosing a partner for business operations should also be a match made in heaven. When you are choosing an outsourcing company, you must make sure that the company is a fit for the needs of your company. They should offer the exact set of services that your business needs, neither more nor less. This is to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money. For example, if you only want SEO service, you should not be forced to pay for other services that you don’t need but must take as there is no other option. This also means that the SEO service that you choose should be complete and beneficial for you.

You Complete My World

The outsourcing partner you select should be the answer to all your requirements. An outsourcing company must provide you quality work that helps your business to grow. The company you choose should be reliable and genuine. A company that has been around for a longer period of time and has experience in handling projects is a better choice than one that has just been established. An experienced team is also an important deciding factor.  You should research the company to verify whether they have been consistent with their quality and meeting deadlines.

I Can Always Count on You

If you can count on your outsourcing partner and you know that your partner is always there to watch your back, life is a little easier. An essential reason to have an outsourcing company that understands your business and risks involved and helps in the growth of your business.  Apart from maintaining quality and delivering output on time, your outsource partner should also be ready to handle any sort of emergency situations. If you choose the right outsourcing company, you will know what they are capable of.  Make certain you choose a company that has highly qualified and experienced professionals who know their job.

Many outsourcing companies do not have a transparent payment structure. A good outsourcing company lets you know their work procedures and rate structure. This ensures you are not paying extra money in the form of hidden costs or useless jobs.

No One Understand Me Like You Do

A good outsourcing company maintains a great level of communication.  The team members that handle your project must interact with you throughout the procedure. This helps you to keep track of how your work is being done, who is doing the work and how much work is left. It also facilitates better delegation of responsibilities and sets up a level of accountability for those working on the project.  

A reliable outsourcing company gives you advice on the amount of work your business might need and answer all your queries. A well-established outsourcing company has staff that can communicate well in English.

You Treat Me Like I Am the Only One in the World

Last, but not least, your outsourcing partner should value the needs of your business as client satisfaction should be their prime objective.  A good outsourcing service provider customizes their services to meet the needs of the client. They support the client from the order to the finish and even beyond that.

These are all points that you consider while choosing an outsourcing partner. A good partner is beneficial for your business and this relationship is the perfection that will last forever.

Why Do Small Businesses and Agencies Fail at Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is an integral part of making a site more popular to the target consumer base. There are numerous benefits to placing an advertisement on social media. If you open a fan page of your company on Facebook, for instance, then you can use your personal contacts list to spread the link and gather more followers by means of ‘likes’. The more friends that ‘like’ your page, the more likely your page will be visible around the virtual world. Suppose one person from your Facebook ‘likes’ your page. The people on their friend list would be able to see that the person liked a page and would be curious to check that page out. If the curious person also ‘likes’ your page, the cycle of spreading ‘likes’ goes on and on. If you follow the principles of online PPC techniques,  you can place advertisements on Facebook (and other social networking sites) where a person would be able to view your advertisement if he/she displays a leaning towards the kind of product or service you sell.

Twitter is not far off. The Twitter Analytics feature platform is of huge benefit to business owners. Through it, a business can track the changes in the size of their customer base. In addition to this, they can also see the demographics the followers belong to, and their tastes and preferences.

The question remains: why do small businesses shy away from using social media to their full benefit? The answer is multifaceted:

  • The majority of small companies, especially start-ups, are intimidated by the idea of social media campaigning. To them, a social media campaign is something that requires a lot of time, resources, efforts and energy that cannot be afforded. A lot of these companies are not aware of campaign tracking tools such as Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Omniture, etc. Because these companies want to play it safe, under the notion that social media campaigns only work when a company is well established, they end up depriving themselves of the benefits that online business campaign tracking tools can give them.
  • Many times, a company doesn’t even have a plan for conducting a campaign on social media. They simply enter the space and work randomly, even taking flawed routes (such as bombarding members with spam messages). As a result, their campaigns fail and they end up dismissing the effectiveness of social media campaigning as a whole. Social media marketing requires a plan in order to succeed. Each business needs to target a certain demographic and then develop their campaigns accordingly, instead of simply making a universal appeal. They need to make use of tools, such as market survey tools and holding consumer contests, with special offers to be won as prizes. Yet, all these, for some reason, intimidate smaller companies.
  • There may be companies that feel that the competition is very packed and that the ‘early birds’ have caught all the worms. That is, the bigger or early-arrival companies have already reaped all the benefits from a particular social media strategy and occupied all the niches. While this fear is not totally unjustified, it is also true that sustained and diligent marketing can indeed popularize a company among social media users without even needing to spend much on advertising. For example, if a company sells health products, they can hire people to research health-themed Facebook groups (or other social media communities)  and promote the products of the company. They can participate in discussions on social media groups and share the positive aspects of the products that are being sold by the company. In doing so, you gain popularity within a particular niche.

Thus, it’s mainly a combination of unrecognized potential and a presence of uncertainty regarding social media that prevents small companies from achieving success in social media marketing campaigns. The scenario is slowly changing, but as small and niche businesses become more informed about social media marketing, there’s a promising future ahead.  

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